September 8th marked the six month anniversary of the mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Flight MH370, which vanished from the radar within an hour from take-off in March. Heartbroken family members of the 239 missing passengers and crew members demand answers as search teams continue to look for clues concerning the world's greatest aviation mystery.
On Monday, Chinese relatives of passengers aboard the missing jetline commemorated the date praying at a Beijing temple, after police broke up a gathering they held outside.
According to the Epoch Times, more than 30 relatives gathered outside the Lama Temple, weeping as one man discussed how he missed his daughter. Some mourners wore T-shirts that read "Pray for MH370 to return home safe and sound."
The aircraft carrying their loved ones disappeared after veering off its northerly course from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing, and is thought to have crashed about 1,800 kilometers (1,100 miles) off Australia's west coast. Twenty-six countries have aided a search that has covered land, air and sea. Currently, Australian officials, with the help of scientists, are searching in a 60,000 square kilometer area of the remote Indian Ocean.
Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss has pledged to continue searching for the missing flight. The cost of the new search area, which will begin in late September, will likely exceed $100 million, as officials have hired Furgo, a dutch engineering company to assist in the search. Truss stated that he is hopeful to find something on MH370 as researchers and scientists from around the world have reviewed the data, and considered the search location one of the most promising areas to search.
Steve Duffield, managing director of Fugro, is optimistic about the search.
"The nature of the work is similar to what we do every day," he said. "The safety bureau has designated the search area, and if it is within our search area we will find it. The law of averages say we could find it as easily on day one as on day 365."
In the meantime, the future is uncertain for the families of those missing. Chinese relatives and their supporters continue to pray at local temples, and have organized marches to the Malaysian Embassy and protests outside the airline's Beijing office to demand answers on their loved ones' fate.
Dai Shuqin, whose sister is among those missing along with her husband, daughter, son-in-law and grandchild, said there was growing anger and dissatisfaction among the relatives toward the Chinese government. "We also feel very helpless ... because we need to rely on the government for their assistance and support and hope they can put pressure on the Malaysian airline to find out the truth," she said.